Human environment interaction is one of the debatable topics especially in the current scenario of the world. The growth of population has heavily impacted on the environment. Over the years, we have found ways of harnessing natural resources to meet our different needs. However, the use of natural resources to our advantage has to be restricted upto a level to ensure environmental balance. While these restrictions are obeyed in some cases, they are disregarded and overlooked more often than not. The phenomenon of human-environment interaction exactly relates to the influence human activities have on the ecological system as a whole.
So, what is human environment interaction exactly?
Human-environment interaction is typically described as the interaction between the human social system and the rest of the ecosystem. In general terms, it refers to the human activities that directly have some sort of an impact on the environment. While the impact is not always negative, but we have unfortunately reached a stage that the negative impact outweighs the positive.
Here is how everything we do has an impact on the environment.
- The way we depend on the environment:
Unarguably, every living being on the planet depends on the environment it lives in. We simply cannot survive without any sort of interaction with the environment, whether it is water, air, food, or any of our basic needs of existence. Nowadays, the dependence on nature has grown to an extent where someone living in the U.S. might depend upon the minerals mined in China for electronics, or even the environment in Africa for specific foods.
- The way we adapt to the environment:
Thanks to the successes in evolution, today we can see people living in the strangest places on the planet. The species that have the ability to adapt to the changes in the environment around them are most likely to survive. We see people living in dense forests, in the snowy areas around the south and north poles, as well as in the driest of desserts. This is a testament to how people have managed to adapt to the environment to fulfill their needs.
- The way we modify the environment:
Different kinds of human activities often result in changes in the environment—both positively and negatively. Catering to the changing needs, people are emphatically exploiting natural resources. Whether it is acquiring and using an increasing amount of land for construction purposes, burning naturally obtained coal, wood for fuel, or extracting gallons of oil from mines, we are directly or indirectly harming the environment big time.
Prominent examples of human environment interaction
If you look around closely, you’ll find abundant human-environment interaction examples. Here are some of the prominent ones.
- Use of Natural Resources
In our daily lives, we use many things that are directly or indirectly related to the environment and nature. We depend on nature for food and water—the essentialities for existence. From clothes and electronic devices to various services like transport, construction, etc., natural resources are paramount. With the increasing population, the demand for natural resources is also expected to hike. The increasing extraction and exhaustion of natural resources—non-renewable in particular—is a major concern that needs to be addressed today.
Deforestation is one of the most concerning examples of human-environment interaction. Meeting the rising demand for food, fuel, as well as construction materials, countries around the world are extensively axing forests. The increasing deforestation is causing unwanted effects such as loss of biodiversity, soil erosion, etc.
- Use of Water Resources
Water is an essential element used for domestic, agricultural as well as industrial purposes. Unfortunately, most of us tend to take water for granted. We see gallons of water being wasted around us on a daily basis. In the past few years, the water withdrawals have increased substantially. The rising water demand is leading to unsustainable use of water resources.
- Oil and Gas Extraction
Enormous amounts of oil and gas are extracted every year for various purposes. However, this causes numerous hazardous effects on the environment. Incidents like oil spills could produce a myriad of challenges such as financial challenges, interruptions in transport, the possibility of injuring and poisoning inhabitants as well as other living beings that come in contact with the oil, etc.
- Transport Services
Transport services are responsible for a majority of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions. Although it is a fact that the use of transport mediums like motorcycles and cars have aided us to move faster and save a significant amount of time, the overuse of transport services is only causing damage to the environment. Alongside air pollution, vehicles cause a lot of noise pollution, which is also a rising concern.
- Busy Waterways
The use of water for transport today is more than it has ever been. However, the increasing water transportation has endangered the lives of numerous underwater species including different kinds of fish, mammals, etc. Moreover, there is also a risk of water pollution which causes a plethora of irreversible changes in many parts of the world that primarily relies on water for their daily lives.
- Waste Production
This is also an important factor that signifies human-environment interaction. Despite the increasing awareness, tons of plastic and plastic-like waste is still released in the environment daily. Many animals suffer from the plastic waste that litters our oceans and landscapes and this is one of the issues that need a quick and permanent addressal.
How can we ensure positive human environment interaction?
There are multiple ways through which we can make positive changes in the environment around us. To avoid the shortages of non-renewable energy resources like petrol, diesel, coal, etc., we can opt for renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and geothermal energy. We often hear complaints about modern cities not being as green as they were before. Many urban planners across the world are addressing this issue by encouraging a greener approach to city life through different initiatives.
Furthermore, many countries have a network of national parks and the zoo’s for preserving and nurturing declining plant and animal species. While some developed countries like the USA are doing a commendable job in protecting these parks, several countries are still not being able to do so. It is the responsibility of every country to protect these national parks diligently.
Water management is also an effective way that can positively contribute to human-environment interaction. Wastewater management, water conservation and reuse, rainwater harvesting, are some of the important measures we can employ to ensure better water management. Rainwater harvesting, in particular, has emerged as a revolutionary water conservation technique that contributes to increasing groundwater levels. In a nutshell, ensuring positive human-environment interaction isn’t impossible, but it is a herculean task—given the pace of urbanization and industrialization. Only with precise planning, accurate measures in place, and timely execution, we can surely reduce the negative impacts on the environment and march towards a more sustainable future!
Also Read:- Humans are the reason for climate change: NASA